It is hard to tell the story of Green Tara without that of White Tara. Their stories begin alongside each other and I loved how though they were born of the same energy and they both wanted to serve and guide humanity they did so in their own unique way.
White Tara reminds of the sacred space we create with compassion and acceptance for the world around us. While Green Tara shows us that we can be of this world and its physical energies, whilst remembering we have access to divine energies within us.
Her story begins within a teardrop.
Avalokiteshvara, the grand buddha, was so full of love for mankind that they returned to the Earth to walk once more as a bodhisattva. One day they stood upon a mountain top and looked down upon the beings of the world. They saw and knew the beauty of samsara, that which is the cycle of birth , death and rebirth as each soul learns the trials of the material world. However, on this day Avalokiteshvara felt the pain and suffering of the world deep within their being. Avalokiteshvara cried out in despair and as they did tears fell from their eyes.
From the tear of their left eye was born White Tara. While from the right was born Green Tara.
The two goddesses stood before Avalokiteshvara and as they looked upon the face of the buddha they felt the depths of the pain from which they were born. They too looked out upon the world and saw how many souls were lost in the distractions of human life and as they did they realised that their births, though delivered in sadness, had potential to be so much more. The goddesses knew that they could help those on the Earth to be free from their distractions and reach the purest of enlightenment.
They turned to Avalokiteshvara and pledged that just as the buddha had returned to guide and support humankind, they too would remain upon the Earth to help them with their mission.
To begin their duties the two Taras decided that they would dive deep into the human experience by stepping into the bodies of those who lived in samsara. For in living the experience of being human, they would know and understand fully the trials and distractions that they faced.
White Tara walked the land, speaking with each and every person whose path crossed hers. As she did she heard of different lives creating different experiences. No two people lived the same life. Each one walked their own path, just as she was walking her own.
White Tara opened a deep understanding within her; that each soul was born of samsara, yet from the same beginning, an endless myriad of journeys was lived. She saw how each soul was offered so many choices and possibilities, and how each moment was the opportunity to shape or change their unique experience.
The more she observed this in awe and wonder, the more that White Tara saw each life as the miracle that it was. Each soul was playing their seamless part in the dance of samsara, creating their own rhythm and steps. It was all in perfection and the more people she spoke to the more that White Tara loved this cosmic celebration.
While she still felt and understood the pain and suffering that life sometimes offered, so too did she feel the exhilaration of overcoming trials and adversity. She felt the freedom that people experienced when they opened their awareness. White Tara saw that the path of enlightenment was cleared by love, and to know love then one needed to truly know their mind and its place within life.
White Tara wanted to know this journey even more, for in knowing this deeper she could serve humanity with a grand wisdom gathered from her connection to their experience.
So she walked from some more time until she came upon a monastery. Here she thought, I will truly learn how humans can know themselves and their journey to reunite with spirit.
White Tara studied with dedication, partaking in meditation and mantras. She worked on releasing any connections she held to earthly matters so that she could feel her spirit infuse into her human form.
She dived deeper into her awe for the wonders of being on Earth. So too did she feel it for her own journey and discoveries, so that now her compassion and acceptance became all embracing. White Tara no longer questioned why hardship and suffering existed or why some souls chose those aspects of samsara; instead she prayed that all souls be shown the way to the light and joy that was available to them all.
Now she no longer thought “if only they could” but understood that in the perfection that was samsara, their spirit would guide them with perfect timing. She did not have to rescue them because they did not need saving. In loving them all, she would be the whisper that would call to them to know their soul, and it would grow louder the more they sought answers to the mysteries of life.
The monks who she studied with were continually impressed with her dedication. They smiled and nodded as she shared her insights and discoveries, looking to one another to validate and combine their individual approval.
Now one of the elders spoke, “My dear daughter, your own awakening is truly to be celebrated. We shall all pray that in your next incarnation you will be born a man, so that you will then be granted the path to a full and complete enlightenment.”
White Tara then enlightened the monks. She looked each man in the eye and though she then turned to address the elder who had spoken, the words she spoke were for them all.
“Your prayers for such are not needed. Instead, I shall pray that each lifetime I will return in my perfect female form. I shall do so over and over until all are freed from the illusions of titles and roles. For gender, like all else, is just an illusion created by minds twisted in human distraction. As I choose to step through that illusion, then others may follow.”
For White Tara knew that labels do not buy love or enlightenment. It was the gift of reconnecting to the pure energy within, our soul, that was the path to our awakening. Embracing love and offering compassion meld into a bridge that we can cross into the healing of ourselves, which then radiates out to heal the world.
So it was that White Tara chose to return over and over as a woman. Each time she played at being human she chose the form that held the mother energies of healing, nurturing and guidance.
People would pray to her, asking White Tara to guide them safely across the ocean of suffering where they could then be delivered into the realms of nirvana- the heavens of enlightenment.
White Tara would stand upon the far shore, calling each soul home, just as a mother would call to a lost child. They would see her in the distance, clothed in her white robes. She would be so full of love that she would radiate light and glow just as the moon does.
White Tara waits to embrace each one upon their arrival with a limitless love that has no judgement. Each soul is received in celebration for all they had endured, but even more so, for the joy of stepping beyond the trials of life.
As each human walks their unique path, so too her sister goddess Green Tara, walked her own.
Green Tara saw the world as a dynamic swirling ball of energies. She could feel the pulse of a tree as it pushed to the sky, the hum of flower unfurling its petals and the waves of life emanating from each animal as their lives began, evolved and ended.
Green Tara knew the Earth was in constant motion; from its journey around the Sun through to the life cycle of the tiniest insect.
To be human was to be part of this symphony of dancing energy. To embrace life was to know you were energy in constant motion. This endless movement connected you to samsara and the miracles there were available to you.
For the human mind, this movement becomes physical action. This physical action when combined with awareness and connection to spirit becomes the most powerful weapon to face fear and the challenges of being human.
Green Tara saw that those who took action within the pursuit of their enlightenment cut through their troubles and doubts. Challenges were made smaller or even inconsequential. Those dark energies would be transformed into light energies of possibility and potential.
So Green Tara stood upon a mountain and called out to all, to remind them of this power within. Her prayer was to all souls to remember that they could face and act upon anything with this inner strength. Within us we have all we need to face and act upon anything. Nothing is bigger than this power. In simply knowing this we cut down fears and slash through doubts. We burn away obstacles, making them ineffective.
People would pray to Green Tara to guide them back to this knowing. Evoking the goddess would call forth the energies to clear their path and remove any hindrances. Green Tara would come to soothe the churning of their minds so that they would look ahead with clarity, to make conscious choices on how to act and move ahead with life.
So while her sister White Tara would be depicted sitting in full lotus position, her legs crossed and tucked against her body, Green Tara would sit with her feet unlocked. One leg would rest away from her body, so that in an instant she could be standing and ready to act however she was needed.
The energy that was born with the sisters grew into a grand sisterhood so that with time, there would be twenty-one Taras to over see all aspects of human life.
These include –
- Blue Tara, the kindred spirit of the Hindu goddess Kali, whose power could be taken into battle to destroy enemies.
- Red Tara, the aspect of Tara that oversaw love, attraction and sensual power, who would be prayed to bring lovers together and infuse their connection with harmony
And Yellow Tara, the sister goddess of abundance and luck, who answers prayers for good fortune.
The sisters gathers in a circle with Green Tara, the goddess of enlightened action in the centre.
And it is to Green Tara that people call, for in summoning her you summon all her sisterhood. They call to her with a few simple words that mean so much.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
Om O Tara
I pray O Tara
O Swift One
So be it
The words begin with “Om” as all sacred mantras do. For the word symbolises wholeness, perfection and the infinite. In calling to the enlightened these are what we too are praying to become.
I am finishing today’s episode with a beautiful rendition of the Green Tara mantra, performed by a German artist called Shafiya Caroline Yao.
She sings the Green Tara mantra, then adds
“Om Mani Pemme Hung” – the sacred mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the buddha who birthed Green and White Tara. The mantra calls for love and compassion for all living beings, just as Avalokiteshvara prayed for us all.
Shafiya then adds her own prayer in English, calling good spirits and love.
I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you so much for listening.
Listen to the audio of this story at
©2022 Marisa Calvi
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